Stepping Out of the Fog

My Dad and Stepmom, Laurel, came to visit a couple of weeks ago and we took them up and down the coast with a healthy dose of Dry Creek Valley (wine, of course) thrown in. We started from the Peninsula in Palo Alto and headed up north of San Francisco.

Sunny down by us, fogged in and gloomy in the city, and then as we drove north of the city it magically burned off and left us with flawless blue skies again. This shot at the top of the post is taken from Tiburon, just northeast of the city. Past the sailboat you can see the Golden Gate bridge in the distance and then the rest of the city is fogged in.

When you’re in the fog, in SF, it doesn’t register that just a couple of miles south and north of where you’re standing are clear skies and a whole different experience than the one you’re having. You don’t really think about it. You accept it and don’t stop to consider. At least, I don’t.

I’ve been thinking about this for the last week. About the fog and how else it applies to life. Yours and mine.

I asked myself: how many times have I been stuck in my head? With a virtual thick soupy fog filling my thoughts? When I’m in them, I’m there. I don’t usually stop to consider that a clear head could be mine if I just looked a bit outside myself. The choice is ours just as it is to drive a few minutes outside of the city and look up at the clear sky.

For example, if you would have been standing in the chip aisle of the Menlo Park Trader Joes yesterday you would have seen me in the midst of battling my fog. I was feeling down, knowing I was missing out on the birthday party of a dear friend going on half a world away with people I adore, in my favorite city. My thoughts swirled as I slipped my sunglasses letting a few tears fall, feeling sorry for myself. My cheeks wet with tears as the blue organic corn chips stared back at me from the bottom shelf. The more forlorn I felt the more I sniffled and snuffled.

I let myself have those tears. A small little gift to me from me.

Then I remembered I’m in charge of the fog. I’m the boss, applesauce. I rolled my shoulders back and lifted my chin. I took off my sunglasses, dried my cheeks, and asked myself what I wanted to do with my day. Biscotti I decided, I want to make pistachio and cherry biscotti. So I did. I started with a clean kitchen. I weighed and measured. I worked the dough (but not too much) while I listened to a favorite list on Spotify.

The breeze blew through the open windows and the smell of cookies filled the air blowing my fog away for good. I smiled at the pictures rolling in from my friends, happy they were all together celebrating and knowing I would be doing the same with them next time I see them.

I thanked myself for blowing away the fog. For loving my day right where I was.

We always have a choice. I’m grateful for the one I made yesterday and plan on doing the same next time. It’s ok to be sad. Squeeze a few tears out, wallow for a bit, it feels good! Be there for as long as you need to. Phone a friend and sit down in the chip aisle if you need to. But remember you can step out of the fog. It has an end and it’s your choice.

Just step a bit to the left and find the edge. Your day will be a hell of a lot better if you do. And what is life but a collection of well lived days?